Is there mention of the Angels being male or men, and is it correct that Imām Ibn Bāz said this?
What’s correct in this subject is that the Angels are men, male.
And this is what is aided by many evidences.
And there is an authentic narration from Abu Mijlaz Lāhiq bin Humayd, of the Tabi’ūn, may Allah have mercy upon him.
Reported by At-Tabari, may Allah have mercy upon him in his “Tafsīr“, whereby he said:
We have been narrated by Ibn ‘Abdil-‘A’laa, who said: we have been narrated by Al-Mu’tamar, who said: I have heard from ‘Imrān, say:
“I said to Abu Mijlaz: Allah said:
(وَعَلَى ٱلْأَعْرَافِ رِجَال)
“and on Al-A’rāf (a wall with elevated places) will be men”
And you claim that they are the Angels?”
Whereby he said:
“They are male and not female.”
[End of speech]
This is an authentic chain of narration, Musalsal (What has come through the men of its chain of narration, one after the other, upon a specific type; either in description of the narrator, or its chain of narration, regardless it being in how its been narrated or in relation to time or place or situation of the narrator, or description of their statement or action) here in hearing.
And his statement and understanding takes precedence over that of the statement and understanding of those after him.
And the point of benefit from his speech is that he clearly said that the Angels were male.
And looking away from his statement in that those on the A’rāf are the Angels.
And showing opposition to it by saying that this necessitates that they have male private parts is not correct, its not correct to come with these type of analogies with affairs relating the unseen.
Similar to it not being correct to show opposition to the affirming that the inanimate objects perform the Tasbīh, by saying that this necessitates that they have a tongue.
And this Imām “is from the Thiqqāt of the Tabi’īs” as mentioned by Adh-Dhahabi.
And Ibn ‘Abdul-Bar said:
“He is trustworthy with all of them.”
And I am not aware -as far as I know- any opposing statement to this from the Companions or the Tabi’ūn.
And from those that have mentioned this also:
Imām Ibn Bāz, may Allah have mercy upon him, when he was asked:
We read and we hear a lot from the general folk and some of the writers and poets, their statements in regards to nurses and that they are Angels of Mercy, what’s your position on these descriptions?
Is it permissible?
Give us a legal ruling, may Allah reward you with good.
Whereby he, may Allah have mercy upon him, replied:
“This description is not befitting to be given to the nurses, because the Angels are male and not female, Allah, Exalted is He The Most High, rebuked the description of the Angels being female from the Mushriks.
And because the Angels of Mercy have a specific description which does not apply to the nurses, due to nurses either being good or bad.
So it’s not permissible to describe them with this.
And success is granted by Allah.”
[End of speech from his Majmū’l Fatāwa 8/423]
And this is what I have heard our Shaykh the ‘Allāmah Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajoori, may Allaah preserve him, establish in some of his lessons.
As for the position that the Angels are neither male nor female, I have not come across -as far as I am aware- anyone from the Salaf take this position, and what is mentioned is from Al-Halīmi, Al-Quwni, As-Suyūti and their likes of the Ashā’irah, and other than them.
As for what has come from Sa’īd, Ibn Ul-Musajib, may Allah have mercy upon him, to have said:
“The Angels, may peace be upon them, are not male nor female, bare no offspring, nor eat or drink.”
[End of speech]
It’s inauthentic, it has been mentioned by: Haqi in his “Tafsīr” and Zamakhrashi the Mu’tazili in “Rabee’ Al-Abrār” and Ibn Abul-Hadīd in “Sharh Nahj Al-Balāgha”.
And they didn’t mention any chain of narration for it!
And from the evidences in which the description of the Angels clearly being called men is:
What is found in “Sahih Al-Bukhari” on the authority of Samurah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ said:
(إِنَّهُ أَتَانِي اللَّيْلَةَ آتِيَانِ، وَإِنَّهُمَا ابْتَعَثَانِي، وَإِنَّهُمَا قَالاَ لِي انْطَلِقْ. وَإِنِّي انْطَلَقْتُ مَعَهُمَا… فَأَتَيْنَا عَلَى رَجُلٍ كَرِيهِ الْمَرْآةِ كَأَكْرَهِ مَا أَنْتَ رَاءٍ رَجُلاً مَرْآةً، وَإِذَا عِنْدَهُ نَارٌ يَحُشُّهَا وَيَسْعَى حَوْلَهَا, قَال:َ قُلْتُ لَهُمَا مَا هَذَا؟ قَال:َ قَالاَ لِي: انْطَلِقْ)
“Last night two persons came to me (in a dream) and woke me up and said to me, ‘Proceed!’ I set out with them… And we proceeded till we came to a man with a repulsive appearance, the most repulsive appearance, you ever saw a man having! Beside him there was a fire and he was kindling it and running around it.”
Until he said:
(وَأَمَّا الرَّجُلُ الْكَرِيهُ الْمَرْآةِ الَّذِي عِنْدَ النَّارِ يَحُشُّهَا وَيَسْعَى حَوْلَهَا، فَإِنَّهُ مَالِكٌ خَازِنُ جَهَنَّمَ، وَأَمَّا الرَّجُلُ الطَّوِيلُ الَّذِي فِي الرَّوْضَةِ فَإِنَّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ صلى الله عليه وسلم… )
“And the bad looking man whom you saw near the fire kindling it and going round it, is Mālik, the gate-keeper of Hell. And the tall man whom you saw in the garden, is Ibrāhīm ﷺ.”
This hadīth is clearcut in that Mālik the gate-keeper of Hell being a man.
And likewise what has come in the “Sahih” on the authority of Samurah bin Jundub, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ said:
(رَأَيْتُ اللَّيْلَةَ رَجُلَيْنِ أَتَيَانِي قَالاَ الَّذِي يُوقِدُ النَّارَ مَالِكٌ خَازِنُ النَّارِ، وَأَنَا جِبْرِيلُ، وَهَذَا مِيكَائِيلُ)
“Last night I saw two men coming to me. One of them said, “The person who kindles the fire is Mālik, the gate-keeper of the (Hell) Fire, and I am Jibrīl, and this is Mīkāīl.”
[End of speech]
And what aids the description of the Angels with masculinity is:
The statement of His, the Most High, in His book:
(وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَٰهُ مَلَكًا لَّجَعَلْنَٰهُ رَجُلًا وَلَلَبَسْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّا يَلْبِسُونَ)
“And had We appointed him an angel, We indeed would have made him a man, and We would have certainly caused them confusion in a matter which they have already covered with confusion (i.e. the Message of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ).”
Ibn Kathīr, said:
“Meaning: If we was going to appoint besides the human messenger an Angel, meaning: if we send for mankind a messenger who was an Angel, he would come in the form of a man so you would understand his speech and benefit from taking from him.”
[End of speech]
And what aids this is:
That many evidences have come in the Angels appearing to the prophets and other than them of the people who can see them in the form of men, and this was never -as far as I am aware- been contrary to this, so this and what has been previously mentioned reiterates the correlation between the Angels and the description of them with masculinity and being male.
Example of this is:
Jibrīl coming to the Prophet ﷺ in the form of a man in a number of Hadīth.
And him coming to Maryam upon the form of a man like it is the statement of His, the Most High:
(فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا)
“and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.”
Likewise other than Jibrīl from the Angels appearing in the form of men, as found in the two “Sahihs” on the authority of ‘Aaisha, may Allah be pleased with her, in the affair of the Prophet ﷺ being stricken with magic, as it comes in the Hadīth:
(يَا عَائِشَةُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَفْتَانِي فِي أَمْرٍ اسْتَفْتَيْتُهُ فِيهِ، أَتَانِي رَجُلاَنِ، فَجَلَسَ أَحَدُهُمَا عِنْدَ رِجْلَىَّ وَالآخَرُ عِنْدَ رَأْسِي، فَقَالَ الَّذِي عِنْدَ رِجْلَىَّ لِلَّذِي عِنْدَ رَأْسِي مَا بَالُ الرَّجُلِ قَالَ مَطْبُوبٌ،…)
“O `Aisha! Allah has instructed me regarding a matter about which I had asked Him. There came to me two men, one of them sat near my feet and the other near my head. The one near my feet, asked the one near my head (pointing at me), ‘What is wrong with this man? The latter replied, ‘He is under the effect of magic.’ “
[Until the end of the Hadeeth]
And the Angels coming to Ibrāhīm ﷺ and Lūt ﷺ upon the forms of men.
And the Angel in the story of the man that killed a hundred people, who came to judge between the Angel of Mercy and the Angel of Punishment, came upon the form of a man.
And this angle is extensive for those that want further elaboration in the affairs of this manner; you will find that they don’t appear but in the form of men.
And success is granted by Allah.
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.
28th, Saffar, 1438
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani